ICYMI: Friars take series opener on 3 homers

ICYMI: Friars take series opener on 3 homers

Will Venable must have gone to bed with a smile on his face on Thursday evening after his pinch-hit two-run home run in the 11th inning proved to be the deciding factor in the Padres' 5-3 victory over the Cardinals in the first of a four-game set. Venable's homer, although significant, may have only been the second-biggest home run of the evening after starter Tyson Ross clubbed his first career Major League blast six innings earlier to give the Padres a 3-1 lead. Ross, whose batting average hovered around .154 prior to Thursday night's game, had amassed 120 at-bats before finally going yard.

Ross' pitching continued to impress as well. Ross surrendered only three earned runs on four hits over six innings with six strikeouts for a no-decision after Thursday's game went into extra innings in St. Louis. The Friars scored their five runs on eight total hits, including four extra-base hits -- three of which went for home runs.

Yangervis Solarte, who was ejected in the sixth inning after slamming his helmet in frustration, opened the scoring for the Padres with a solo shot to tie the game in the second inning. Center fielder Melvin Upton Jr. also performed well, enjoying a multihit game batting out of the leadoff spot. Derek Norris -- who normally gets the start behind the dish -- started at first base and took his spot on the highlight reel thanks instead to an impressive diving stop he made to save the game in the ninth. After Venable's go-ahead homer in the 11th, the Padres called upon Craig Kimbrel to earn his 20th save of the year with a scoreless inning.

In case you missed it, here are some highlights and stories you may not have seen from Thursday:

Padres postgame recap: Venable blast lifts Padres past Cards in 11th

Solarte's solo shot ties the game at 1

Solarte's solo blast

Ross hits his first career MLB home run

Ross' first career homer

Venable deals a decisive blow

Venable's go-ahead home run

Kimbrel closes the door

Kimbrel earns save No. 20

NorrisaurusRex proves to be invaluable utility on the field: Norris comes up big in rare start at first base

Ross' blasts first career homer in all-around win: Ross hits a homer, something that dinosaurs don't do

Friars grab six prospects on international signing day: Padres add depth with international prospects

Padres' third baseman eyes return to the diamond: Middlebrooks nears return from injury

Game Notes @ STL (07.02) Ross Mans the Mound in St. Louis Series Opener

Looking forward:

Friar Forecast: Cashner set to take the hill in game two against St. Louis

Friday's probable pitchers: Andrew Cashner (3-9, 4.22 ERA) vs. Michael Wacha (10-3, 2.77 ERA)